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Why are women living longer than men?

Sabine Biaggini (2022-04-20)


Everywhere in the world women live longer than men - but this was not always the case. The available data from rich countries shows that women didn't live longer than men in the 19th century. Why do women live more than men do today and how have these advantages gotten bigger over time? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an informed conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, but we don't know exactly what the contribution of each factor is.

In spite of the amount, we can say that at least a portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men, but not previously, اوضاع الجماع is to have to do with the fact that some key non-biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, اوضاع الجماع like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complicated. For example, there is evidence that in rich countries the female advantage increased in part because infectious diseases used to affect women disproportionately a century ago, so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, especially for survivors, ended up raising women's longevity disproportionately.

Everywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. As we can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line , it means that in all nations that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

Interestingly, this chart shows that although the female advantage is present everywhere, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women are 10 years older than men. In Bhutan the gap is just half each year.

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In wealthy countries, the advantage of women in longevity used to be smaller
Let's now look at how the advantage of women in longevity has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancies at the birth in the US between 1790-2014. Two areas stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both genders in the United States live longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in terms of life expectancy was quite small but it has risen significantly over time.

You can check if the points you've listed are applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.